Red Sox hire Dombrowski; Cherington to step aside
Owner Henry excited to be working with new president of baseball operations again
BOSTON -- The Red Sox demonstrated their strong desire to bring the organization back to prominence by hiring Dave Dombrowski to be their president of baseball operations, effective immediately.
General manager Ben Cherington declined the opportunity to continue as GM, but he has agreed to assist Dombrowski during the transition. Former Braves GM Frank Wren is the front-runner for the position, according to a report by USA Today.
The move comes with the Red Sox, at 53-66, in danger of finishing in last place in the American League East for the third time in the past four years. The one exception during that span was dramatic, as Boston, aided by a collection of solid moves by Cherington, won the World Series in 2013.
During Red Sox owner John Henry's three seasons (1999-2001) as owner of the Marlins, Dombrowski was his GM. The two have always shared a strong relationship, and that helped Boston in its quest to hire Dombrowski, who had also been talking to other organizations.
"I have known Dave very well for a long time," Henry said in a statement. "[Chairman] Tom [Werner] and I have no doubts that Dave is the right person to strengthen our baseball operations group going forward. He is one of the most highly regarded executives in all of baseball, and had options to go with other clubs. We feel very fortunate that he wanted to come to Boston, and wanted to further his career -- now with the Red Sox -- as one of the great architects of winning baseball clubs."
The hiring of Dombrowski was announced by a press release in the late innings of Tuesday night's 9-1 win over the Indians, and club president Sam Kennedy conveyed the news to the coaching staff and players following the game.
Dombrowski is a seasoned baseball executive who helped lead the Marlins to a World Series championship in 1997 and built AL pennant-winning clubs with the Detroit Tigers in 2006 and '12. The Tigers and Dombrowski parted ways on Aug. 4.
The Red Sox introduced Dombrowski during a news conference on Wednesday at Fenway Park.
The Blue Jays had "serious conversations" with Dombrowski about possibly joining that club, and that prompted the Red Sox to give him full power over baseball operations, Yahoo! Sports reported. Dombrowski expressed his eagerness to begin working with the Red Sox in a statement released by the team.
"I want to thank John and Tom for this opportunity," Dombrowski said. "Although I did have other potential options within baseball, there was no option that stood out as clearly as the chance to come to Boston and win with the Red Sox. Boston is a baseball city like no other, and its history and traditions are unique in our game. I expressed to John and Tom that Boston would be my absolute top choice, and [I] am honored to have the chance to serve Red Sox Nation."
One thing Dombrowski is known for is his ability to balance old-school scouting with advanced analytics. In recent years, the Red Sox had been increasingly known for their reliance on the latter.
Although Dombrowski will very much be the point person for the Red Sox going forward, his reputation is to solicit debate and discussion within his support group before signing off on moves. It remains to be seen which executives Dombrowski might bring with him to Boston, or how quickly he will hire a general manager.
Dombrowski is also known for his strong negotiating skills and is viewed by those who have worked with him as highly organized.
Cherington has been with the Red Sox since 1999. He steadily worked his way up the organizational ladder and took over as general manager when Theo Epstein left Boston to go to the Cubs after the 2011 season.
"Although we have achieved tremendous success over the last 14 seasons, we had reached a clear internal consensus that we needed to enhance our baseball operation," Werner said. "In nearly four decades in the game, Dave is a proven winner, and he can restore winning ways to Yawkey Way and help to fulfill the Red Sox goal, every year, to be playing meaningful games into October."
Red Sox players were sorry to hear of Cherington's imminent departure.
"Yeah, we are responsible for situations, but sometimes that requires new moves; sometimes it doesn't," said Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz. "I guess they just went for that. Ben did a great job for us here. He did a remarkable job. We won the World Series under his belt and things like that. Just sometimes an organization likes to move on."
And in this instance, the Red Sox are moving on to Dombrowski.
"I know that wherever he's been, he's won," said Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. "Obviously that speaks for itself. The guys, I remember Mike Lowell used to talk about him and couldn't say enough great things. Obviously I don't think they would put somebody in that position that they don't believe in. He's pretty special at what he does. He's done a great job for a long time."